06 March 2011 – A Bit of History was Delivered Tonight

Do you have a favorite restaurant that seems to defy the odds, economy and time itself?

I could probably name at least five restaurants that have opened and shut down in the last year and a half that are within two miles of me. It is a shame but it is survival of the fittest and it gives me a much greater appreciation for those that hang in there year after year.

When I was a kid growing up on the dusty streets of Texas we had very little idea of what Italian food was all about. As far as Italian at home there was the occasional spaghetti dinner or maybe a can of Chef Boyardee for lunch on a weekend. We never made pizza at home or any other more complicated Italian dishes.

Once a year or so we would go as a family to the only Italian restaurant I was familiar with back in the late 60’s to late 70’s. As I recall this place was steeped in history, mystery and shady characters who knew even shadier characters. It was fun to go there for several reasons.

  • We knew we would be safe because Mom and Dad were with us.
  • Dad knew the owner personally.
  • We always went on one of our birthdays.
  • We never had to wait in line (there was always a line) and got to enter through the side door.
  • When it was a birthday the owner would make an individual pizza for the birthday boy or girl and always topped it with one of those trick candles that you can’t blow out.

This place has a bit of history to it. It was founded as Campisi’s Egyptian Lounge in 1946 and later named Campisi’s Egyptian Restaurant. It was one of the first restaurants to receive a liquor license in Dallas. The founder, Joe Campisi was to my recollection an affable, likable guy who enjoyed showing people a good time and worked hard to make sure his guests had a good time on their visits. Continue reading